Eric Lichaj has warned Alan Hutton that he is determined to take his place in the Aston Villa side.
The 23-year-old joined Villa as a trainee in 2008 and, after loan spells with Lincoln, Leyton Orient and Leeds, was hoping to become a regular at Villa Park this season.
However a hip injury has restricted him to just one appearance in the Carling Cup this season, during which he scored his first Villa goal.
He had surgery on the problem last September and, after making a return with the reserves, is now looking to cement a place in the first team.
"I think I'm back up to full strength now," Lichaj told the Birmingham Mail.
"I just do a few things before training and after training to make sure it is all right, that's all. It's been fine so far and it is just good to be back and playing
"I am fit now so hopefully over the next couple of weeks I can challenge for a place. I've just got to work hard in training as I always do and try to impress the manager.
"He has only seen a bit of what I can do because I've only been training properly for about a month now.
"I have seen how he wants the team to play and know everything about that and it has been good working with him so far.
"My injury wasn't the best of timing. I was doing well with the USA team and just got back from the Gold Cup and thought I could have had a little run.
"But I guess it happens for a reason, which is something my parents say, so I try and stay philosophical.
"I tore a muscle in my hip and they had to shave some bone in my hip as well so it ended up being a long spell on the sidelines.
"I think it just happened over time and it was down to the way I was built with my genetics so it was going to happen eventually.
"It's not great being my age and getting hip surgery, but at least I haven't got to get it replaced!
"It's meant to have cured it. I don't have any problems with it now."